Sen. Risch: Brennan hearing ‘tip of the iceberg’ on drone discussion

Updated

As questioning of President Obama’s pick for CIA director John Brennan continued on Capitol Hill, one lawmaker on the Senate committee that conducted the hearing indicated that further inquiries delving into the United States’ drone program were in store for the architect behind the targeted killings.

“What you’re seeing with the Brennan nomination hearing today is going to be the tip of the iceberg. We’ve been discussing this for a long time within the intelligence committee,” Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, told NewsNation’s Tamron Hall. He is a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, which is questioning Brennan.

Scrutiny of the policy further intensified this week after NBC News revealed previously classified Justice Department memos which outline justifications for using drones to kill American citizens suspected of terrorism.

Brennan, one of President Obama’s chief counter-terrorism advisers, is known as one of the primary architects of the administration’s drone program.

Risch didn’t go as far as endorsing comments from his colleague Sen. Lindsey Graham, who said that “every member of Congress needs to get on board” with the drone strikes. But he did note that the way the United States is involved with war has dramatically shifted over the years and that our idea of a battlefield must be changed.

“Look, we are fighting a war that is much different than the classic and traditional wars that we have fought in the past,” said Risch. “The result of that is the methods of fighting that war and the way that Americans are involved in the war are different than they were in the past.”

He is particularly concerned about government leaks of classified information to the press, and told Hall that he has already met with Brennan about the issue. Risch said he’d “probably” bring up White House intelligence leaks during Brennan’s confirmation hearings because those questions were not put to rest in his private meetings.

Sen. Risch: Brennan hearing ‘tip of the iceberg’ on drone discussion

Updated